• Gratitude

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Annual Report

On this page...

Letter from the Head of School
Percy Abram, Ph.D.

Letter from the Board President 

Steve Rosen '84

2020-2021 Administration & Board of Trustees

Stories of Philanthropy and Community


Your Annual Fund Gifts in Action

Fiscal Year Performance & The Bush Endowment

Letter from the Head of School

Dear Bush Community, 

The 2020-2021 school year feels so distant, yet right over our shoulders. We approached the year with optimism and hope, flexible in our planning and fluid in our thinking. Keeping our community whole was our priority, and in order to do so we committed to being nimble, took on new roles, and learned to let our fears and anxieties flow all around us. Like water. 

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Letter from the Board President

Dear Bush Community,
 
I am filled with gratitude for the way in which our community came together to support the school during a time of great uncertainty. For so many families, businesses, and organizations across the country, the pandemic often made it difficult to know what tomorrow might bring. Through your support, we were able to lift up this place where our children spend so much of their lives learning, growing, and building connections.
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2020-2021 Administration & Board of Trustees

List of 2 items.

  • 2020-2021 Administration

    • Percy L. Abram Ph.D., Head of School
    • Robin Bentley, Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations
    • Leslie David, Executive Assistant to the Head of School
    • Ethan Delavan, Director of Technology 
    • Polly Fredlund, Director of Communications and Enrollment Management
    • Sharon Hurt, Director of Development
    • Jo Ito, Athletic Director
    • Sally Maxwell, Ph.D., Acting Middle School Director
    • Aliya Virani, Lower School Director
    • Kimberlee Wiliams, Director of Intercultural Affairs
    • Ray Wilson, Upper School Director
  • 2020-2021 Board of Trustees

    • Steve Rosen ’84, President
    • Lisa Carroll, Vice President
    • Irene Fisher, Treasurer
    • Chris Chickadel ’93, Secretary
    • Emily Alhadeff ’94
    • Kevin Baker
    • Atul Bali
    • Steve Banks ‘94
    • Craige Blackmore
    • Steven Caplow
    • Sergio Chin-Ley
    • Amy Fernandes
    • Maggie Finch
    • Alden Garrett ’73
    • Salone Habibuddin
    • Allison Harr
    • Patricia Hearn
    • Kathy O’Kelley
    • Daniel Pak
    • Ian Sands
    • Jennifer Schorsch
    • Judi Yates

    • Mary 'Sis' Pease ’41* (deceased), Trustee Emerita 
    • Percy L. Abram, Ph.D., Head of School
    • Christina Brinker, Families Association President 

Thank You to Our Donors

Each year, we are so proud of the number of people who give their time, their financial support, and their talents to build an incredible community. Thank you to everyone for your contributions. We could not do this without you! 

Great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this report. If we have omitted or misspelled your name, or if you have any name, address or family information changes, please contact the Bush Development Office at development@bush.edu.

We invite you to view secure lists of our contributors for the 2020-2021 school year.

2020-2021 Donor List

Members of The Bush School community received an email with the password to this section.  If you are a member of the Bush community and would like access, please email us at development@bush.edu to request the password.

Stories of Philanthropy and Community

List of 7 news stories.

  • Voices of the Lower School

    “Love, kindness, and caring.” Those were the three words Lower School Bush student Will B. ’30 used to describe The Bush School community last year during the global pandemic. The Bush School led with courage as we began the 2020-2021 school year by offering in-person schooling to our youngest learners, collecting critical data about schooling in-person and COVID-19 that allowed other schools in our region to follow suit. Tune in and hear the voices of our Lower School students as they reflect on the pure joy of being able to return to the classroom, recess, and everyday life.

    How do you feel when you show up to school?
    “I usually feel happy, excited, and loving, and a little bit hyper.” - Jeffina S.V. ’33


    What makes the Bush Lower School special?

    “I think it’s because it’s kind and it’s loving.” Brooke W. ’31

    How would you describe The Bush School in three words?
    “The Bush School is fun, interesting, and loved, cause everyone is like your friend, even though if you’re in a different grade or a way higher grade, you're still friends.” - Brooke W. ’31

    What is your favorite part of the school day?
    “My favorite part of the school day is probably, right now, it’s social studies. We did a really fun project where we made our own state.” - Henry R. ’29 

    What do you like about learning at Bush?
    I like learning at The Bush School, like science, because I usually feel stuff and play with slime and get my hands all icky.” - Hikma A. ’33

    When do you feel your best self?
    “I feel my best self when I do something really good and great.” - Hikma A.’33

    What is your favorite part of the school day?
    “Science. We are learning about plankton, like zooplankton and phytoplankton.” - Will B. ’30

    Take a look at some of the Lower School Voices below.




    Read More
  • Clare K. ’26: Share the Love


    During the Spring of 2021, a time when The Bush School operated between in-person and hybrid learning models due to the global pandemic, Bush community members participated in “Share the Love”, an event spearheaded by Bush parents/guardians who wanted to show their gratitude and appreciation for the school’s efforts and support during a challenging academic year. 

    While the “Share the Love” event brought in more than $25,000 in funds, the heart of the event was the written notes of gratitude submitted to the Bush faculty and staff. For Clare K. ’26, who took the time to write thirteen messages, this was an opportunity to express her gratitude for the support she received navigating uncharted learning territories. Clare spent a majority of the 2020-2021 academic year online, but was able to safely come back to in-person learning during the spring.

    “While I couldn't meet my teachers and know them as if it was a normal year, both of us tried our best to make it seem like a normal year even though it wasn't,” she said. “My teachers altered their curriculum and made the impossible in a way possible.” 

    In total, 186 notes were submitted. The funds raised went to gifts and treats for faculty and staff. Clare said a unique aspect of learning last year was the way the Bush community stayed connected despite the physical distance.

    “The letters expressed our many different connections to the people keeping the school functioning,” she said. “From teachers, to coaches, to parents, to family and friends, all of us are connected. We got to know each other in different ways. Being connected to our teachers even during remote school was very unique.”

    Clare, who submitted the most notes of any individual, said one of her hopes in doing an event like “Share the Love” was to raise awareness of the big and little things Bush community members do to help make the school such a unique and welcoming environment - virtually and in-person.  

    “Our teachers do so much for us all, teaching us subjects, coaching us in sports, encouraging us to do math competitions and more,” Clare said. “I feel grateful for my teachers, the faculty and staff who work very hard and my parents, who pay for my education. I felt that the people who helped me learn and help at The Bush School deserve a note of gratitude.” 
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  • Gretchen H. ’23 and Ian F. '23: Twelfth Night Reimagined


    When Gretchen H. ’23 joined the theater program at The Bush School, they envisioned learning how to use the more typical pieces of theater technology, such as sound and light boards, but never a full set of cameras and livestream technology. But amid a global pandemic, students' love of acting required them to engage their creativity and reimagine a whole new world of performance. 

    Faced with the uncertainty of putting together a 2021 Spring production, Gretchen said under the leadership of Bush’s Upper School Drama Teacher and Theater Director Hilary Moore, the theater program made up of 23 students was able to envision a new way to put on a one-of-a-kind production.

    “There were definitely some thoughts of not having a show, but Hilary decided that a show would be a good idea and might create some joy for the difficult time during the pandemic,” Gretchen said.

    With a guiding force of providing happiness and some sense of normalcy back to life during a challenging time, the Bush theater department took on the enormous task of producing William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Twelfth Night, virtually through the online medium of livestream. The team performed three, online-only productions, in early May. 

    “The decision for it to be presented all virtually was made pretty early on, which was good because it determined a lot of things about the production,” Gretchen said. “A full set of cameras versus a normal in-person audience make a huge difference to the way the show is put together.”

    With Bush operating between in-person and hybrid learning last Spring, the theater department went about figuring out how to recreate one of  Shakespeare’s plays via a virtual setting that all Bush community members could view. From the actors to the technical crew, everyone played a critical role in developing a new way to put on a production. 

    “It was incredibly empowering because the mix of the very modern technology we used and the Shakespearean era English shows the versatility of theater and the ability to adapt Shakespeare’s plays to whatever circumstances arise,” Gretchen said.

    Gretchen, who was the assistant stage manager, controlled the livestream and the switches between cameras. During the rehearsal process, they assisted the stage manager, Tamarin Camp ’21, in managing the actors, creating and managing spreadsheets, and basically whatever else needed to be done. 

    “My role during the performances was key to the display of the show because I allowed for the actors to be seen when they were on because I switched between the cameras, and I also managed the links for the livestreams, so I controlled whether or not people could actually watch the show,” Gretchen said. 

    Ian F. ’23 never imagined that during the spring of sophomore year at Bush he'd be on stage performing one of William Shakespeare's longest play monologues virtually, while wearing  a mask. He took on the comic relief and “somewhat goofball” role of Malvolio. 

    “I was really there to lift the mood of the whole play, and I hope I made people at home laugh,” he said. “I never could have predicted what would happen in the drama department as a result of COVID-19, I don’t think anyone could …. (but) that’s part of the reason I think it was so great, that we pulled it off even through everything going on. It felt amazing to be able to perform again. Shakespeare can be difficult, no matter when or where, and to pull it off in COVID-19 just made me so proud.”

    Both Ian and Gretchen echoed the sentiments that putting together a production like this brought the entire Bush theater community even closer together, and was a true display of their fortitude and commitment during such a challenging year.

    “It displayed so much strength from the actors and techs alike because nearly everything we were doing had never been done before in a Bush theater production,” Gretchen said. “We had an entire set of cameras that we had to learn how to use and then switch between with buttons and so many wires, and we had a combination of actors on Zoom and in person that we had to figure out how to integrate together. This was a new experience for everyone, and our ability to pull this off so well through all the struggles and complications displayed an incredible level of strength and resilience on many levels, and we could not have done it without the guidance and support of our wonderful director Hilary. Not only was this a technically difficult show, it was emotionally difficult as well because the pandemic created mental struggles for everyone. Pushing through the emotional turmoil while also creating a balance of taking care of our mental health showed us how incredible the Bush theater program is.”

    While countless hours of in-person and online work was required, learning new technology, speaking through cloth masks and more, the uncharted territories made the students grateful to be a part of the Bush theater community. 

    “The first time I went back inside the theater was exhilarating, it made me feel at home again and made me remember all the good memories I had had in it,” Ian said. “The break made me really realize how much I love to act and how much acting is really a part of me.” 
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  • Pablo Zilly '21: Path to a Championship


    Pablo Zilly ’21 still remembers promising Varsity Head Soccer Coach Marcellino Dumpit Jr. a state title as a Bush Middle School student. “When we got into high school, Brennan Kim ’21, Riley Nyhan ’21, and I said, ‘We are going to get you a state championship,’” Pablo said with a smile. “And it never happened until our final season. We were so happy to give Marcellino a state trophy our senior year given everything.  Because of COVID-19 and the fact that we hadn’t been able to play for a year and half, all the players were pretty grateful.” 

    Those words of gratitude for an historic season carry special meaning for Pablo. After missing the 2020 season as a junior due to an injury, and the global pandemic cancelling all spring athletics for Blazer student-athletes, resuming any sort of normal season for the 2020-2021 academic year was not a guarantee.  

    As one of three captains for the soccer team, Pablo explained his role was to make sure to stay positive, keep the team morale high, and be a role model, even during a pandemic.

    “My whole senior year I was going about it as if we were going to have a season,” Pablo said. “It was good to have one captain remain optimistic; I feel like I’m always hoping for the best.”

    I remember Pablo from his days in Middle School,” Bush Athletics Director Jo Ito said. “He always stood out as a highly skilled and poised player. It was a pleasure to witness his growth throughout his career over the years - both as an athlete and more importantly as a person.  His contributions to the soccer program were remarkable. Not only was he one of our top players, but his calm and collected leadership style helped him gain the respect of his teammates and opponent.”

    Pablo was also instrumental leading up to the league championship season in making sure all the players stayed involved and connected despite being online or when transitioning back to in-person learning. As a senior last spring, he helped organize captain practices.

    “That was just a good way for players to be seen and just play, bond a little more, and that’s the most fun part,” Pablo said. 

    The Blazers soccer team was given the go ahead  to have an official spring 2021 season, but it did have restrictions and looked different, as players were required to wear masks while playing. While some found it difficult, again Pablo was there to remind the team to stay grateful for the opportunity to be on the field playing.

    “Playing in a mask took more energy, but I kept telling the players who did have issues, it builds stamina and you’re going to get stronger, so really it was a blessing in disguise. I was trying to lead the way and showing a want to win and not take the season for granted.”

    The Blazers finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and claimed the Emerald Sound Conference Boys Soccer Championship, beating Overlake 1-0 in overtime. Pablo, who played center-mid, was named the Most Valuable Player by league coaches. 

    “His ability to control the pace of the game, to create plays for his teammates, and to be a constant scoring threat  are exceptional.,” Jo said. “The free kick goals he scored during his team’s championship campaign during his senior year will be remembered for years to come.”

    This fall, Pablo, who is taking a gap year and wants to travel, gave back to the Bush community as the assistant soccer coach for The Bush Middle School White team. This winter he also is coaching basketball. 

    When we were hiring for a Middle School soccer coaching position this fall, Pablo was an obvious candidate,” Jo said. “Despite his young age, I had full confidence in him leaning into the role of being a mentor to our young soccer players. And once again, Pablo came through. He has been a welcome addition to our coaching staff and has had a meaningful impact on the players he coached.”  

    Pablo said the opportunity to be able to come back to Bush and share his passion for the game is something he’s honored to do. 

    “It’s definitely difficult  getting Sixth and Seventh Grade students to listen,” he said with a laugh. “But it is really
    nice to see them have fun playing the game that I love. And I want them to get as much as I do from the game, but the most important part is that they are all having fun.
    Read More
  • President of United States Joe Biden Writes to Bush Fourth Grade Class


    It was an historical moment, literally, for members of The Bush School community in October. 
    Students that were in Julie Barber’s 2020-2021 Fourth Grade class were informed they received a response from the letters they penned last November to the President of the United States Joe Biden.

    "Honestly, I just wanted kids to capture all the hope they were feeling in that moment after the election," said Julie. "I told the kids it was unlikely we'd get a response since Biden got so many letters. I think the kids hearing about each other's hopes and dreams for the next four years gave them a boost, too."

    Students (now in Fifth Grade) in Julie's class wrote the letters a week after the election was called for Biden. Julie explained her students had studied the electoral process, held a mock election, and learned about the responsibilities of citizens in a civics unit leading up to the election. The three big topics students addressed in the letters—COVID-19, racial injustice, and climate change.

    "Our students were really interested in learning about the issues and also have worries about so many issues that they want to see change," Julie said. "Since we learned about citizen's responsibilities to participate in government, sharing our thoughts with our newly elected official seemed just right!"

    While receiving a response back was historic, the act of making one's voice heard is nothing new for Julie's curriculum.

    "I think it's important that students feel a sense of agency and self-efficacy," Julie said. "And so we do send letters to lots of officials, businesspeople, activists, anyone we think can help us make a difference. The thing I hope for most is that I am helping to build people who are motivated to participate in the problem solving our world needs. This response from the President shows those students that carefully crafted words can have a big impact. I hope it compels them to stay engaged in our democracy and in the greater world."

    Part of the written response back from President Biden echoed Julie's message.

    "Even at your young ages, you have the power to impact the future for generations to come," Biden said.

    Julie said when students found out President Biden replied, the response was pure elation.

    "They just gasped and started cheering," Julie said. "I could hear kids at pick-up telling their parents about it as their car door opened.”
    Read More
  • Taylor Eskridge ’21 and LiLi F. ’23: Blazing Neurons


    Taylor Eskridge ’21 remembers the times in Bush Lower School she would struggle with the basics of learning and comprehending instructions. “I was always the kid who asked, ‘Wait, what are we supposed to do?’ after being given an assignment in class,” she said. 
     
    During Taylor’s sophomore year at The Bush School, she explained she was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). During that year, she also became connected with Bush’s Support Services, and began working with Sara Carter ’90, Bush Upper School Learning Specialist and Support Services Department Chair. 
     
    Support Services is a K-12 department composed of counselors and learning specialists in each division. Sara explained the Upper School Learning Support Office supports all students with strategies for academic success, referrals to tutors, short-term organizational support, and executive function strategies. The learning specialists coordinate learning plans with teachers, students, and parents/guardians for students with diagnosed learning differences. 
     
    Thinking back to her time in Lower School, Taylor explained she thought how helpful it would have been to her own development if she would have had an older neurodiverse student help guide her through the many challenges. That thinking, combined with the intensified struggles of the pandemic during 2020-2021, propelled Taylor to do something. 

    “I realized that I wanted to help younger neurodiverse students learn to love their brain while they’re young, and prevent them from ever believing they are stupid because of their difference,” she said. 
     
    Under the guidance of Support Services, and working the Director of Intercultural Affairs Kimberlee Williams who oversees affinity groups, Taylor, along with LiLi F. ’23, created an affinity group for students with and/or interested in learning differences, that could also serve as a mentorship group for Lower and Middle School students. The group is called “Blazing Neurons.” 
     
    “When trying to brainstorm a name for the affinity group, I knew I wanted it to point out the neurodiverse aspect of the group, hence the ‘Neurons’ part of it,” Taylor said. “However, I also wanted it to be punny, and I thought that since Bush’s team is called the “Blazers” it could form the perfect pun. I also think the title “Blazing Neurons'” evokes pride, and lets people know we love our neurodiverse brains, further fighting the stigma against learning differences and neurodiversity.”
     
    Sara explained that mentorship and bridging the gap between Upper and Lower School students became a connection, because around the same time Taylor and LiLi started the group, Lower School Counselor Leah Brown was piloting a neurodiverse program in the Fourth Grade. Taylor explained working with the younger students was an empowering experience for her. 
     
    “The first day I met with the Fourth Grade students for the mentorship program will forever be ingrained in my mind,” Taylor said. “It was crazy to see how excited they were to be a part of something like this, and how engaged they were in the activities.”
     
    Taylor said this club has been a huge success and has impacted the neurodiverse students at Bush that need a space like this, especially during a time period where learning shifted so suddenly due to COVID-19. For LiLi, the need for a club like this was imperative to continuing the learning progress that was already established before the pandemic. 
     
    “To suddenly be torn away from the learning environment that I had worked so hard to establish and placed alone in my room learning through a screen was horrible,” she said. “The worst part for me was feeling like I was returning to my Middle School self that thought I was crazy, lazy, and stupid. That's when I began to realize the importance of having others around you who share similar experiences and what prompted me to start a club.” 
     
    While Taylor is now an alumna of the school and set to attend Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2022, having LiLi as a founding member is key to the ongoing and continued support for Bush students.
     
    “I was glad to create the group with someone a few grades younger than me, because it gave me hope that she could continue to develop the group even once I graduated, and I wanted to ensure that these groups lasted,” she said.
    Read More
  • Celebrate Bush 2021: We Are Bush


    On March 6, 2021, 414 households tuned into our live streamed virtual We Are Bush celebration. Although COVID-19 impeded our ability to gather in person, participating in the event from home was an incredible demonstration of support for Bush faculty, staff, and students. Guests watched from home and connected virtually, sending heartfelt messages of appreciation and gratitude using the event’s chat feature.
    Read More

Your Annual Fund Gifts in Action

Fiscal Year Performance

This year with your support, The Bush School raised a total of $5,474,019 in philanthropic support. This included $1,897,962 in support of annual operations (through the Annual Fund and Celebrate Bush), $717,407 in support of the endowment, and $2,858,650 of gifts and pledges in support of the New Upper School Building and Education Master Plan.
 
Total operating revenue for the year was $27,954,730 and came from tuition and fees, philanthropic support, auxiliary income and investment return.
 
Total operating expenses for the year were $25,430,960 and included educational programs, compensation, financial aid, maintenance, technology, and fundraising.
    • Revenue

      revenue

    • Expenses

      expenses

    • Philanthropic

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    • Endowment

      Endowment



The Bush Endowment

The endowment is an important part of the school’s overall fiscal year performance. Assistant Head for Finance and Operations Robin Bentley underscored this, sharing: “Endowments are considered a hallmark of financial sustainability.” Our donors’ commitment to the endowment supports the school’s vitality and solidifies their legacy with the school.  The value of Bush’s endowment as of June 30, 2021 was $26,583,818. 

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View Previous Annual Reports

Members of The Bush School community received an email with the password to this section.  If you are a member of the Bush community and would like access, please email us at development@bush.edu to request the password

  2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-20172015–2016  |  2014–2015

To View the 2019-2020 PDF Report Click Here